Pancreatic cancer is a malignant neoplasm originating from transformed cells arising in tissues forming the pancreas. The most common type of pancreatic cancer, accounting for 95% of these tumors, is adenocarcinoma arising within the exocrine component of the pancreas. A minority arise from islet cells, and are classified as neuroendocrine tumors.
Signs and symptoms
Early pancreatic cancer often does not cause symptoms, and the later symptoms are usually nonspecific and varied. Therefore, pancreatic cancer is often not diagnosed until it is advanced. Common symptoms include:
* Pain in the upper abdomen that typically radiates to the back
* Heartburn - acid stomach
* Poor appetite or nausea and vomiting
* Diarrhea, loose stools.
* Significant weight loss (cachexia)
* Painless jaundice or yellowish skin,
* Trousseau sign.
* Pulmonary embolisms
* Clinical depression has been reported in association with pancreatic cancer, sometimes presenting before the cancer is diagnosed. However, the mechanism for this association is not known.
Causes and Risk Factors
Risk factors for pancreatic cancer may include:
* Family history: 5–10% of pancreatic cancer patients have a family history of pancreatic cancer.
* Age. The risk of developing pancreatic cancer increases with age. Most cases occur after age 60, while cases before age 40 are uncommon.
* Smoking. Cigarette smoking has a risk ratio of 1.74 with regard to pancreatic cancer; a decade of nonsmoking after heavy smoking is associated with a risk ratio of 1.2.
* Diets low in vegetables and fruits.
* Diets high in red meat.
* Diets high in sugar-sweetened drinks
* Diabetes mellitus
* Helicobacter pylori infection
* Gingivitis or periodontal disease
* Partial gastrectomy
People who may have a high risk of pancreatic cancer due to a...